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How Hurricane Dorian will affect transportation in Central Florida

Tolls suspended to allow for evacuations

Tape blocks an entrance at BJ's Wholesale Club to control traffic flow as motorists line up for fuel in preparation for Hurricane Dorian, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019, in Hialeah, Fla. Hurricane Dorian is heading toward Florida for a possible direct hit on the state over Labor Day. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

ORLANDO, Fla. – It's likely that commuting in Central Florida will become unsafe at some point if or when Hurricane Dorian sweeps through the region.

The most recent track, which has changed multiple times in the past several days, shows the Orlando area being hit Tuesday morning. That could change, so we'll have a better idea of impacts as the weather system gets closer.

In the meantime, public transportation officials have announced some shutdowns and amended schedules.

Below are the statements they've released ahead of Hurricane Dorian. This story will be updated as more responses are received.

Tolls

The governor's office announced Sunday that tolls will be suspended. The following information is from rhe Florida Department of Transportation: 

Governor Ron DeSantis has directed the suspension of tolls on Florida's Turnpike Mainline, and selected toll roads across the state, in preparation for Hurricane Dorian. By suspending tolls, residents and visitors will be able to quickly and safely evacuate if necessary.
The tolls suspension is in effect and includes the following:

  • Alligator Alley
  • The Turnpike Mainline (SR 91), including the Homestead Extension (SR 821)
  • Sawgrass Expressway (SR 869)
  • Beachline Expressway (SR 528)
  • SR 417 - Eastern beltway around Orlando from I-4 in Osceola County to I-4 in Seminole County.
  • SR 429 - The Daniel Webster Western Beltway from I-4 in Osceola County to US 441 in Apopka.
  • I-95 Express Lanes
  • I-595 Express Lanes
  • I-75 Express Lanes

Service plazas along Florida's Turnpike mainline will be open for travelers; however, the plazas do not serve as hurricane shelters. As the storm approaches, restaurants and fuel stations will be closed and Turnpike personnel evacuated.

For information about traffic conditions, please visit https://fl511.com. You can also download the Florida 511(FDOT Traffic) mobile app online.

Lynx

"The Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority (LYNX) is releasing the following statement pertaining to Hurricane Dorian. 

"LYNX previously announced that effective Sunday ACCESS LYNX will only be providing life sustaining medical trips such as dialysis and cancer treatments until further notice. ACCESS LYNX will now provide ALL regularly scheduled trips through Sunday. Beginning Monday ONLY life sustaining medical trips will be provided until further notice.

"LYNX fixed route, NeighborLink and LYMMO services will be provided as scheduled until further notice.

"If sustained winds reach 35 mph from Hurricane Dorian, the LYNX transit system will shut down temporarily for safety reasons. LYNX staff will monitor the effects of the storm and will keep the community up-to-date as the hurricane passes through the area.

"Road Rangers will patrol I-4 until Central Florida reaches sustained winds of 35 mph, at which time they will be pulled off the street and return when it is deemed safe.

"LYNX staff will monitor the effects of the storm and will keep the community up-to-date as the storm passes through the area via:

"Thank you for your patience and understanding during this situation."

Lynx is planning to resume regular service on Thursday.

Orlando International Airport

Officials with the Orlando International Airport have announced that Hurricane Dorian's latest track is forcing the airport to cease operations at 2 a.m. Tuesday.

Florida Department of Transportation

"The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has suspended interstate and state road lane closures in the Central Florida area due to the expected arrival of Hurricane Dorian. Lane closures may become necessary if needed for emergency work or continued hurricane prep.

"Contractors on all construction projects are securing work sites, clearing traffic control devices that are not actively being used to direct traffic, and checking drainage systems.  All available lanes will remain open on the interstate system in Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Marion, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties.

"When a hurricane is approaching, FDOT directs all road and bridge contractors to temporarily suspend all operations on construction projects.

"Florida's 511 Traveler Information System is one of the most effective ways drivers can keep informed about the state's roadways during severe weather. Visit FL511.com or call 511 for real-time traveler information.

"The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) urges all motorists to use caution when driving during storm conditions."

Waze

"Ahead of Hurricane Dorian's landfall, Waze is activating a pilot of an all-new evacuation zones feature for the very first time in Florida to help navigate users to safety before and during the storm. 

"The new feature is designed to route drivers out of and away from evacuation zones once orders have been issued, even if it's the most efficient route. Additionally, if a user's destination is within an evacuation zone, Waze will send an in-app alert and give them the opportunity to change their destination.

"In Florida, Waze leverages official government resources to ensure Waze maps stay updated in times of crisis. If local or state governments send their evacuation zones, we will activate them in real time."

Orlando Sanford International Airport

Daytona Beach International Airport

Daytona Beach International Airport will be open until 6 p.m. Monday, according to airport officials. The airport will then be closed until at least Wednesday.

Orlando Melbourne International Airport

"Orlando Melbourne International Airport (MLB) will suspend commercial flights and close the terminal at 12:00 p.m. (noon) Monday, September 2nd to ensure the safety of passengers and employees. Airport officials continue to monitor the storm around the clock and coordinate with airline and tenant partners. Also please note that MLB is not a shelter. A list of nearby shelters is available via the airport's social media @FlyMLB."

Amtrak 

"Due to severe weather expected to impact Florida and the Southeast, Amtrak is canceling select Southeast services beginning on Saturday, Aug. 31. For the safety of our customers and employees, the following trains will not operate. 

"Service canceled from Saturday, Aug. 31, to Monday, Sept. 2, includes:

  • Silver Star 91 (New York – Miami) 
  • Silver Meteor 97 (Miami – New York) 

"Service canceled from Saturday, Aug. 31, to Tuesday, Sept. 3, includes:

  • Silver Star 91 & 92 (New York – Miami) 
  • Silver Meteor 97 & 98 (Miami – New York)

"Service canceled from Sunday, Sept. 1, to Tuesday, Sept. 3, includes:

  • Auto Train 52 & 53 (Lorton, Va., - Sanford, Fla.) 

"Bus transportation will not be provided for canceled trains. Service will be restored pending improved conditions. 

"Anyone planning to travel should check their train status on Amtrak.com or our smartphone apps prior to departing, allow extra time to get to the station and be extremely careful in stations and on platforms. 

"Customers with reservations on trains that are being modified will typically be accommodated on trains with similar departure times or another day. Amtrak will gladly waive additional charges for customers looking to change their reservation during the modified schedule by calling our reservation center at 800-USA-RAIL.

"Anyone can subscribe to automated email or text message notifications if Amtrak trains are behind schedule at specific stations. Notifications can be given for up to six trains and stations by either text or email and delivered when you choose - on a single day, every day, or just certain days of the week. Create a subscription at Amtrak.com/DelayAlerts.

"To be notified of service disruptions on the Northeast Corridor (including Acela, Northeast Regional and other corridor services), follow @AmtrakNECAlerts on Twitter. For service information outside the Northeast Corridor, please follow @AmtrakAlerts for updates.

"Customers with travel plans can review refund information on Amtrak.com. Service Alerts, Passenger Notices and other announcements are posted at Amtrak.com/Alerts.

"Amtrak regrets any inconvenience. This information is correct as of the above time and date. Information is subject to change as conditions warrant."

SunRail service suspended

The Florida Department of Transportation will suspend SunRail service beginning Sept. 2 through Sept. 6.

After the storm, and when conditions stabilize, crews will complete an inspection of the 61.5-mile corridor to assess the storm's impact before service is reinstated for SunRail, as well as freight and Amtrak operations.

Daytona Beach Shores - Dunlawton Bridge

"For the safety of the public, the Dunlawton Bridge will close to both eastbound and westbound traffic when windspeed reaches a sustained 39 mph. Once the bridge closes it will not re-open until it has been inspected and deemed safe by the Florida Department of Transportation. In the event a mandatory evacuation is issued, the bridge will be manned by officers from Daytona Beach Shores, Port Orange and Ponce Inlet.

"Only residents, business owners and persons that have legitimate business on beachside from north Daytona Beach Shores city limits to Ponce Inlet will be allowed over. Vehicles displaying a Daytona Beach Shores or Ponce Inlet pass will be expedited over the bridge.

"Officers manning the bridge during the mandatory evacuation will stop any vehicle without a pass. If the occupants cannot prove residency or legitimate business, they will not be allowed access. Anyone with a beachside address north of Daytona Beach Shores north city limits will need to use a different bridge.

"Residents and business owners are urged to report to the Daytona Beach Shores Department of Public Safety to receive their bridge passes. Business owners can obtain passes for employees who will need access. The Daytona Beach Shores Department of Public Safety has passes available 24/7 in the main lobby. You must bring proof of residency."

Uber

Uber is offering free round-trip rides to and from shelters in anticipation of Hurricane Dorian.

The ride-sharing company is allowing customers to redeem a free trip of up $20 each way to and from a state-approved evacuation shelter.

To see if your local shelter is on the list, click here.

If your shelter is on the list, follow these instructions from the company to redeem your free rides:

  • Open your app and tap "Payment" in your app menu.
  • Scroll down to Promotions.
  • Tap "Add Promo Code."
  • Enter code DORIANRELIEF then tap "Add."
  • Select any of the state-approved Florida evacuation shelters listed at FloridaDisaster.org/info, or your local county website.

Be sure to read the fine print below, courtesy of Uber.com:

*Maximum discount of up to $20 per ride. Ride offer valid for up to 2 trips per rider on UberX or UberXL. Driver-partner earnings will not be affected. Rides must be requested to or from any state-approved evacuation shelter in Florida. Promo code must be applied before requesting the ride for discount to apply. Discount does not apply to tips. Cannot be combined with other promotions/discounts. Terms subject to change. Limited availability. 

New Smyrna Beach

"Both North Causeway and South Causeway in New Smyrna Beach will be barricaded by local public safety personnel and closed to traffic effective 8:00 p.m. tonight, Tuesday, Sept. 3, due to unsafe observed wind speeds in the vicinity associated with Hurricane Dorian.

"They will reopen after the Florida Department of Transportation inspects them and determines they are structurally safe."


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